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Jul 13, 2012
10:49 AMTalk about Arts
Spree Theater with Darwin McPherson: Legally Blonde
It’s certainly been a busy season for Amy Jakiel.
The daughter of local performers Steve Jakiel and Mary McMahon has made impressive showings this season with a significant part in MusicalFare’s Oliver!, the lead female role in MusicalFare’s Avenue Q, and as half of the “young” couple in Kaleidoscope’s Baby. In addition, she broke new ground for herself by choreographing Scrooge: The Musical and directing Hello, Dolly, both for Curtain Up Productions, and co-hosting “The Artie Awards” with Anthony Chase and Lisa Ludwig. Now she’s capping it off with the lead in Legally Blonde The Musical, Curtain Up’s last show for 2011-12.
Jakiel admits that it is “exciting” to watch productions come together. “That’s a part of theater magic that you miss out on when you’re onstage,” she says. “After experiencing things on ‘the other side,’ however, I’d have to say I prefer being onstage.”
She’ll certainly get a chance now. As Elle, the role made famous by Reese Witherspoon in the 2001 film that inspired the musical, Jakiel virtually carries the show, appearing in most of the scenes and performing on almost every song. The large cast also includes: John Kaczorowski (MusicalFare’s A Grand Night For Singing) as Emmett, the role originated in the musical by Christian Borle (Smash); Lisa Ludwig; Bethany Burrows (The Fantasticks); Maria Droz (Avenue Q); Sean Murphy (A Chorus Line); and Michael Seitz (BUA’s Avow). Christopher Parada directs.
The musical’s plot is the same as the movie’s. Perky blonde sorority girl Elle Woods goes to Harvard Law School to prove that’s she’s “serious” to her ex-boyfriend. As it turns out, Elle’s legal potential is rivaled only by her appreciation for all things pink. “Personally, I relate to the strong, ‘girl power’ side of Elle,” Jakiel says. “It’s a story about looking past someone’s appearance and finding out what they’re really made of. There’s a song at the end of the show called ‘Find My Way’ which I believe sums up the show. Elle, and a number of the other characters, are just trying to make their way in life and discover who they really are.”
Other songs from the musical include the famously infectious “Omigod You Guys,” “Ireland,” and dance number “Bend and Snap.” Like Jakiel, Blonde choreographer Bobby Cooke had a busy season. After choreographing Oliver! at MusicalFare, he later acted in Baby (with Jakiel) as half of the “middle” couple while choreographing Legally Blonde and starting the choreography for Hair, now playing at MusicalFare.
“I never thought I’d make it through June,” Cooke says. Luckily, the rehearsal schedule arranged with Hair director Chris Kelly allowed him to work on Baby as an actor and get prepared for Legally Blonde. “After I set up the numbers, my assistant, Dominic Giambra, cleaned it up.”
After Blonde, Jakiel and Cooke will get a brief break before going into The Music Man, MusicalFare’s first show of the 2012-13 season. Jakiel will play Marian and Cooke will again choreograph for frequent collaborator Chris Kelly. He’s also appearing in O’Connell and Company’s season opener The World Goes ‘Round, featuring the music of legendary composers Kander and Ebb.
“There's nothing I love more than performing so, while I didn’t exactly plan on a season with this much excitement, I’m certainly not complaining,” Jakiel says.
“It’s wonderful to be a part of the Buffalo theater community,” Cooke says. “Summer used to be a time when nothing was happening. Now you can see Hair, which is so relevant even today, with its strong, amazing young cast. And Legally Blonde is a beautiful story about being true to who you are. Buffalo audiences can go the theater all year round and have these experiences. It’s so rewarding.”
Legally Blonde The Musical runs July 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28 at 7:30 pm and July 15, 22, 29 at 3 pm at the Historic Palace Theatre, 2 East Avenue in Lockport. Tickets are $18 Adult, $15 Senior, $13 Child. Click here to order tickets online or call 716-438-1130 (Monday through Friday 10 am-2 pm or 2 hours prior to the show).